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Asus Zephyrus G14 (2022) review: Refined power

Quick verdict: Asus’s upgraded Zephyrus G14 brings pleasing levels of game performance, though its AniMe Matrix display is still a silly gimmick.

Pros

  • Great performance
  • Good connectivity
  • 120Hz capable screen
Cons

  • AniMe Matrix is silly
  • Battery life is highly variable
  • Very “gamer” style design

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Smaller gaming laptops have come a long way in the past few years. Where you used to have to buy behemoths to get top-notch gaming performance, you're now awash with choices in the 14-inch range.

Asus's Zephyrus G14 includes some expected upgrades to current-gen AMD processors and GPUs, and the end result is a pleasingly powerful unit. Predictably, because some matters with gaming laptops never change, battery life still isn't a strong point.


Asus Zephyrus G14 (2022) review: AniMe Matrix is still silly (but maybe fun?)

Asus Zephyrus G14 (2022) review

Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

The 2022 edition of the Zephyrus G14 really only lightly tinkers with its established design. Nobody's going to mistake Asus's latest refresh of its 14-inch gaming laptop for a dull productivity notebook.

The Asus Zephyrus G14 is built around a 14" 120Hz capable display, available either with a QHD (2560x1600) or FHD (1920x1200) resolutions, a slight uptick from last year's 2560x1440/1920x1080 offerings. However, you'd totally need them side by side to genuinely pick that level of difference. Asus sent me the QHD model to test.

At 1.65kg it's far from a slim and light laptop, though its metal body should be able to last a decent amount of time relative to simple plastic body model.

Flipping the Zephyrus open reveals a generous sized trackpad, enhanced in size by 50% from the 2021 model. Bigger is not always better, and I often find with larger trackpads that they make it harder for me to comfortably place my hands in the right position for typing – but for many users that extra space could be quite welcome.

Conversely, where many gaming laptops offer robust keyboards good for gaming but poor for general typing work, I had few issues with the key travel or response of the Asus Zephyrus G14 when using it for more mundane text entry work.

The Zephyrus G14's party piece for some years now has been the "AniMe Matrix" LED matrix screen on the top casing, which allows you to run a variety of animations and text scrolls.

Asus clearly thinks this is a differentiation idea with legs, because the 2022 model allows you to show system events, audio feedback or even a virtual pet that lives both on your desktop and on the AniMe Matrix screen. Asus's virtual pet can give you system notification, or even play simple slot, shoot-em-up or whack-a-mole style games.

Why can it do that?

I can't answer everything, you know. Asus is essentially turning the back of your laptop into a Tamagotchi, just because it can.

It's an odd mix of daft and endearing, depending on your taste. If you're concerned about battery life, you may want to disable the AniMe Matrix display altogether.
From a connectivity standpoint, the Asus Zephyrus G14 2022 features dual USB C – one with 100W PD capabilities, both with DisplayPort – dual USB 3.2 Gen1 USB A ports, a single HDMI port, microSD card reader and a combination audio jack.


Performance: Ryzen 9 brings the speed

Asus Zephyrus G14 (2022) review

Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Like so many of its laptops, the Asus Zephyrus G14 2022 isn't just one laptop, because it's configurable depending on your needs and budget.

The model Asus sent me for review was built around an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS processor, AMD Radeon RX 6800S GPU with a hefty 32GB of installed RAM and 1TB of SSD storage.

Asus's claims around the Asus Zephyrus G14 2022 are that the shift from an NVIDIA RTX solution through to the AMD Radeon can bring anywhere from 17% to 46% more gaming graphics performance.

There are plenty of gaming laptops out there, even in the smaller 14-inch space, so how does the Asus Zephyrus G14 2022 compare?

Here's how it stacks up against similar laptops using PCMark 10 and 3DMark Time Spy:

The results here are interesting, because the Asus Zephyrus G14 2022 bests the crowd for CPU performance, but not necessarily straight line GPU performance. To be fair, the RoG Flow X13 that tops that list is working off an external GPU, which brings with it an entirely different set of power assumptions – and a lot more clutter.

There's no doubt that the Asus Zephyrus G14 2022 has plenty of gaming grunt, but artificial gaming benchmarks can only tell you so much.

To get an idea of comparative performance, I loaded up Microsoft's excellent Forza Horizon 5 to see how it would compare against that same X13 and its external GPU:

Yes, that's a deliberately unfair test, but the point here is that the Radeon RX 6800S really can hold its own under heavy strain – especially when you consider that for a racing game, 60fps is where you'd want to hit anyway.

All that speed does generate a fair quantity of heat, and I did find the Asus Zephyrus G14 2022's fans kicking in heavily during longer gaming sessions.

Asus says it's reconfigured the entire cooling system, from liquid metal cooling to higher capacity fans, allowing the Asus Zephyrus G14 2022 to work up more heat as a result. While the Asus Zephyrus G14 2022 certainly got warm during testing, it never reached the levels of lap toasting that some gaming laptops do during my review period.


Asus Zephyrus G14 (2022) review: The battery is sometimes good, sometimes bad

Asus Zephyrus G14 (2022) review

Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Battery capacity is something that hasn't notably changed for this generation of the Zephyrus G14. Like its predecessor, it's packing a 76Whr battery within its frame. Where Asus has changed up the formula is with its charger, jumping up from an included bulky 180W charger to an included (but still bulky) 240W model. That does allow for considerably faster charging of course.

The needs of that Ryzen processor and GPU make for an interesting story when it comes to battery life. Like any laptop, how much battery life you get out of it totally depends on your usage scenario. To put that to the test, I ran the Asus Zephyrus G14 2022 through Finder's own video battery test, as well as PCMark's Gaming Battery test:

On the one hand, amidst that group of laptops, it performed the worst for outright gaming performance. On the other hand, it's way ahead for video endurance. That's a balancing act that I think favours the Zephyrus G14 2022.

There's really no way for gaming laptops at this size to offer long-term heavy duty gaming battery life, so you're always going to be reaching for the power adaptor at some point.
However, for lighter usage scenarios, or even mixed usage between gaming and other pursuits, the Zephyrus G14 2022 is going to last way longer than comparable systems.

Asus Zephyrus G14 (2022) review

Image: Alex Kidman/Finder


Should you buy the Asus Zephyrus G14 (2022)?

  • Buy it if you want a smaller gaming laptop that still packs in plenty of power.
  • Don't buy it if you don't like the 'gamer' style or need consistent battery life.

There's a pretty steady curve when it comes to gaming laptop performance. Like most laptops, you can expect faster processors year in and year out. For gaming laptops, it's GPU performance that should increase.

The Asus Zephyrus G14 2022 nails those categories nicely, and is a good choice if you're after a smaller gaming laptop.

However, there are some issues. Battery life is predictably not great, so it's not going to be the best choice for heavy gaming on the go. The style is also distinctly gamer-centric, and that's very much a taste choice. If you're not so keen on the whole "AniMe Matrix" thing, you could consider a more subtle gaming laptop choice in this size, like one of Razer's Blade laptops.


Asus Zephyrus G14 (2022) review: Pricing and availability

The Asus Zephyrus G14 2022 retails in Australia with pricing starting at $2,999

ASUS Zephyrus G14 (2022)

Specifications

ASUS Zephyrus G14 (2022)

General

Processor Family
AMD Ryzen 9
Processor Model
6900HS
Processor Clock Speed
4.9GHz
Processor Cores
8-core
RAM options
16GB DDR5 on board
16GB DDR5-4800 SO-DIMM
Max Capacity: 32GB

Display

Screen Size
14 inches
Display Type
anti-glare display
Resolution
2560 x 1600px
Graphics Processor
AMD Radeon RX 6800S
Graphics Memory
8GBGB

Features

Operating System
Windows 11 Home
HDMI Ports
1
USB-C Ports
2
Bluetooth
Bluetooth 5.2 (*BT version may change with OS upgrades.)
Wi-Fi
802.11ax
Card Reader
microSD
Webcam
720P HD IR Camera

How we tested

The Asus Zephyrus G14 2022 used in this review was loaned to me for testing by Asus, and tested over a 3-week period. In that time I ran numerous battery tests, benchmarks and more anecdotal testing, including a lot of gaming, because ultimately this is a gaming laptop. Games included a mix of installed titles via Steam and streamed titles via Xbox GamePass for PC to test overall performance and battery endurance under a variety of gaming scenarios.

The reviewer has more than 2 decades of tech product reviewing under his belt and is a multi-time Australian IT Journo award winner, including awards for best reviewer and best technical journalist.

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